- Title: Hundreds of Islamic State corpses await repatriation from Libya
- Date: 22nd July 2017
- Summary: MISRATA, LIBYA (JULY 22, 2017) (REUTERS) MEMBER OF ORGANISED CRIME UNIT LOOKING AT RECORDS OF DEAD MILITANTS MEMBER OF ORGANISED CRIME UNIT WRITING RECORDS VARIOUS OF DOCUMENTS OF DEAD ISLAMIC STATE FIGHTER TUNISIAN PASSPORT PASSPORT COVER READING IN ARABIC: "THIS PASSPORT BELONGS TO TUNISIA" SUDANESE PASSPORT PASSPORT READING IN ARABIC: "SUDANESE REPUBLIC INTERIOR MINISTRY" (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MASKED MEMBER OF ORGANISED CRIME UNIT TEAM, NAME NOT PROVIDED, SAYING: "The team have removed hundreds of bodies during the 'Bonyan al-Marsoos' operation. This is the main operation which allows us to reserve the bodies, document and photograph it and collect DNA samples." REFRIGERATOR HOLDING MILITANT BODIES REFRIGERATOR HOLDING DEAD MILITANT BODIES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MASKED MEMBER OF ORGANISED CRIME UNIT TEAM, NAME NOT PROVIDED, SAYING: "The challenges were more materialistic. There were technical difficulties such has maintaining the refrigerators, which was exhausting. There were different Arab and African nationalities such as Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan and North Africa. There were foreign nationalities." VARIOUS OF REFRIGERATOR DOORS OPEN/BODIES IN REFRIGERATOR VARIOUS OF REFRIGERATORS HOLDING DEAD MILITANT BODIES VARIOUS OF PRESERVED DEAD BODIES PRESERVED MILITANT DEAD BODIES MAN CLOSING REFRIGERATOR DOOR
- Embargoed: 5th August 2017 20:55
- Keywords: Islamic State fighters Libya Misrata's Organised Crime Unit dead bodies
- Location: MISRATA, LIBYA
- City: MISRATA, LIBYA
- Country: Libya
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Insurgencies
- Reuters ID: LVA0016QSTL53
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Seven months after Libyan forces defeated Islamic State in the coastal city of Sirte, hundreds of bodies of foreign militants still lie stored in freezers as authorities negotiate with other governments to decide what to do with them, local officials say.
The corpses have been shipped to Misrata, a city further to the west whose forces led the fight to defeat Islamic State in Sirte in December.
Allowing the bodies to be shipped home to countries such as Tunisia, Sudan and Egypt would be sensitive for the governments involved, wary of acknowledging how many of their citizens left to fight as jihadists in Iraq, Syria and Libya.
"The team removed hundreds of bodies," a member of the Misrata organised crime unit dealing with the bodies told Reuters, his face masked to conceal his identity because of security concerns.
"This is the main operation which allows us to preserve the bodies, document and photograph them and also collect DNA samples."
The crime unit said it was awaiting a decision from the Prosecutor General, who was in talks with foreign governments over the return of the bodies.
Islamic State has now been defeated in its main stronghold in the Iraqi city of Mosul and is under pressure in its base in the Syrian city of Raqqa.
But at the height of its territorial control it attracted recruits from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe to its ranks.
In Tunisia alone, officials say more than 3,000 citizens left to fight in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
Islamic State took over Sirte in 2015, taking advantage of infighting between rival Libyan armed factions and using the city as a base from which to attack oil fields and other nearby towns.
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